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Are Fruit To Go Snacks Bad For You?

Also Known As: Fruit to Go bars, Fruit Strips



Short answer

Fruit to Go snacks are not bad when consumed in moderation, but they lack the fiber and full range of nutrients found in whole fruit. High in fruit sugars and often low in fiber due to processing, they can lead to quicker spikes in blood sugar levels. It's best to balance them with whole fruits to maintain a nutritious diet.



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Long answer

Nutritional Composition of Fruit to Go Snacks

Understanding the nutritional value of any snack is crucial in determining its impact on your diet. Fruit to Go snacks, known for being a quick and convenient fruit-based treat, claim to offer the goodness of real fruit in a portable package. Let's dissect the nutritional content to see how beneficial Fruit to Go snacks are for you.

Caloric Content: A single serving of Fruit to Go typically contains around 50-60 calories, which makes it a low-calorie snack option. This is equivalent to the calories found in a small fresh apple.

Sugar Content: One of the most significant concerns with Fruit to Go, and similar fruit snacks, is the sugar content. A serving can contain up to 10-12 grams of sugar, although the company asserts that this sugar is naturally occurring from the fruit concentrates used. Still, it’s important to note that concentrated fruit sugars can have a different impact on blood glucose levels compared to whole fruit.

Fiber: Unlike whole fruits, these snacks typically lack dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and helping to regulate blood sugar levels. The processing involved in making Fruit to Go strips away most of the natural fiber that would be present in the original fruit.

Vitamins and Minerals: Many Fruit to Go products are enriched with added vitamin C, which can provide a substantial percentage of your daily intake. However, it's worth noting that the range of vitamins and minerals is far less diverse than what you might find in a whole piece of fruit.

Ingredients List: It is equally important to examine the list of ingredients in these snacks. The primary ingredients are often fruit purees and fruit juice concentrates, but some varieties may include additional sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives that could detract from the health value of the snack.

Here's a breakdown of the typical nutritional content per serving:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 50-60
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 0-10mg
Total Carbohydrates 13-15g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Total Sugars 10-12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C Varies, often enriched

By examining the nutritional composition of Fruit to Go snacks, it's evident that while they offer a low-calorie and convenient option, they do not provide the same health benefits as fresh fruit. The lack of dietary fiber and the high concentration of fruit sugars are notable drawbacks. When considering these snacks as part of your diet, it's best to balance them with whole fruit options to ensure you're receiving the full spectrum of nutrients that nature provides.

It is always recommended to consult recent studies or seek the guidance of a dietician or nutritionist if you have questions about integrating such snacks into your diet, especially if you have specific dietary restrictions or health concerns.

Added Sugars in Fruit to Go Snacks: Hidden Health Costs

When grabbing a 'Fruit to Go' snack, it's easy to be misled by the healthy halo that surrounds fruit-based products. However, understanding the implications of added sugars in these snacks is crucial for making informed dietary choices. Beneath their fruity exterior, these snacks may carry hidden health costs largely attributed to their sugar content.

First and foremost, we need to distinguish between the natural sugars found in fruits and the added sugars that are often included in packaged snacks. Whole fruits contain fiber, water, and significant nutrients, a combination that slows the consumption of sugar and helps regulate its impact on blood sugar levels. In contrast, added sugars in snacks like 'Fruit to Go' are often quickly metabolized, leading to rapid spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar. This can contribute to short-term effects such as energy dips and longer-term health implications like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

A scientific article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has highlighted the potential risk of excessive added sugar consumption, linking it to increased chances of cardiovascular diseases. The recommendation for added sugar intake from the American Heart Association is no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day for men. Even small 'Fruit to Go' snacks can chip away significantly at this daily allowance.

Furthermore, studies have drawn a strong correlation between added sugars and obesity due to their high caloric content without providing satiety, which may lead to overeating. Dental health issues, such as cavities, have also been associated with high sugar intake, as sugars are fermentable substrates that can be converted into acid by oral bacteria, leading to enamel demineralization.

List of Potential Hidden Health Costs from Added Sugars in 'Fruit to Go' Snacks:

  • Rapid blood sugar spikes and crashes
  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Elevated possibility of cardiovascular disease
  • Contribution to obesity due to low satiety and high-calorie content
  • Potentially adverse effects on dental health

When examining the nutritional labels, it's essential to scrutinize not just the total sugar content, but also the breakdown of added sugars. Many 'Fruit to Go' snacks include concentrated fruit juices, which are considered as added sugars despite originating from fruits, because the fiber and other beneficial components have been removed, leaving only the sugar content.

The hidden health costs of added sugars in on-the-go fruit snacks reflect a broader nutritional challenge. It's not just about demonizing sugars but recognizing that the form in which they're consumed can make a significant difference to our health. For those seeking the benefits of fruit, whole fruit remains the gold standard. When choosing processed fruit snacks, it's important to select those with minimal added sugars, or better yet, no added sugars at all, to ensure we're not inadvertently hindering our health.

Preservatives in Fruit to Go: What's Really Inside?

When it comes to assessing the health impact of packaged snacks like Fruit to Go, it's crucial to examine their preservative content. Preservatives are added to food products to extend shelf life, prevent spoilage from bacteria, mold and yeast, and maintain product safety and efficacy. However, some preservatives have been the subject of health concerns and debates.

One commonly used group of preservatives in dried fruit snacks is sulfites. These include:

  • Sodium bisulfite
  • Sodium sulfite
  • Sulfur dioxide

Sulfites help to maintain color and prevent the growth of bacteria, but they can pose health risks for individuals with sensitivities. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites, with asthma sufferers being most at risk of experiencing adverse reactions.

Another preservative that might be found in some fruit snacks is sorbic acid, or its salts, potassium sorbate, and calcium sorbate. They are considered safe by many health authorities, including the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), when consumed within the acceptable daily intake limits. However, excessive long-term consumption could potentially lead to health issues, so it's important to monitor intake, especially in children.

Citric acid is also frequently used in these snacks, both as a preservative and to add a tangy flavor. While naturally occurring in citrus fruits, the citric acid used in the food industry is often derived from mold-based fermentation of sugars. It's widely regarded as safe when consumed at levels found in foods, but it may cause an allergic reaction in rare cases or discomfort in people with gastrointestinal conditions.

Beyond specific preservatives, the broader category of "natural flavors" may include preservative compounds that are proprietary and thus not detailed on labels. The ambiguity of natural flavors can make it challenging for consumers to know exactly what they're ingesting and whether these components have any preservative properties or potential health effects.

To understand the impact of these preservatives, let's summarize their roles:

Preservative Role in Food Potential Health Concerns
Sulfites Preserve color, prevent bacterial growth Asthmatic sensitivities, allergic reactions
Sorbic Acid and its salts Inhibit mold and yeast growth Potential issues with excessive consumption
Citric Acid Preservation, flavor enhancement Allergies, gastrointestinal discomfort

Considering these preservatives, individuals should weigh their own dietary sensitivities and health conditions when deciding to consume Fruit to Go snacks. It's important to read the labels carefully. Better yet, investigating the product's website or reaching out to the manufacturer for a full ingredient disclosure might be necessary for those with specific health concerns.

While occasional consumption of these preservatives within FDA guidelines is generally considered safe for the general population, understanding the potential risks can guide more informed choices and healthier snacking habits.

Comparing Whole Fruit and Fruit to Go: Nutritional Value and Fiber Content

Whole fruit and Fruit to Go snacks both originate from the same natural source – the fruit itself. However, the manner in which they are processed and consumed significantly alters their nutritional profiles. When considering the health implications of eating Fruit to Go compared to whole fruit, it is essential to delve into the intricacies of their nutritional value and fiber content.

Nutritional Value:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Whole fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They undergo minimal processing, which helps retain most of their inherent nutritional content. Conversely, Fruit to Go often undergoes a concentration process that removes water content. While this can preserve some vitamins and minerals, the heat and processing may reduce the overall nutritional value compared to fresh fruit.
  • Natural Sugars: Both whole fruits and Fruit to Go contain fructose, a natural sugar found in fruits. The difference lies in the concentration. Whole fruits have a balanced composition, with water and fiber to regulate sugar absorption. Fruit to Go snacks, being dehydrated, present sugars in a more concentrated form, which may affect blood sugar control.
  • Caloric Content: The caloric content is denser in Fruit to Go due to water removal. Whole fruits have higher water content, which makes them more filling with fewer calories. This makes fresh fruits more conducive to weight management when compared to their snack counterparts.

Fiber Content:

  • Soluble and Insoluble Fiber: Whole fruits contain a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which contribute to digestive health, blood sugar stabilization, and prolonged satiety. The fiber is often lost during the production of Fruit to Go snacks. The absence of fiber in these snacks can lead to faster digestion and potentially a quicker rise in blood sugar levels.
  • Processing Effects: The manufacturing process of Fruit to Go might involve pulping or juicing, which strips away the fibrous structure. Despite some brands adding fiber back into the product, this reintroduced fiber seldom replicates the benefits of the naturally occurring fibers in whole fruit.
  • Digestion and Satiety: The intact fiber in whole fruits slows down digestion, allowing a steady release of sugars, aiding in satiety and preventing overeating. Conversely, the lower fiber content in Fruit to Go results in these snacks being digested more quickly, diminishing their ability to satisfy hunger for extended periods.

In conclusion, while Fruit to Go snacks can provide a convenient and portable fruit-based option, they do not offer the same health benefits as whole fruits, particularly in the context of nutritional value and fiber content. The preservation techniques used in producing Fruit to Go snacks can diminish the integrity of vitamins, minerals, and fiber—key factors in their contribution to a balanced diet.

The Role of Fruit to Go Snacks in Children's Diets

Snacking for children is often synonymous with on-the-go convenience that can complement their dietary needs throughout active days. Fruit to Go snacks play a unique role in children's diets as a source of instant energy and potential nutrient uptake. However, it's essential to navigate the line between convenience and nutrition when considering these snacks.

Firstly, it's crucial to understand the composition of Fruit to Go snacks. Typically, they are made from fruit purees and concentrates, lacking in the fiber found in whole fruit. While they can provide some vitamins and minerals inherent to the fruits they are made from, the processing can diminish these nutrients.

  • Vitamin Content: Some essential vitamins may remain, such as Vitamin C, which is essential for a child's immunity and iron absorption.
  • Fiber Depletion: The lack of dietary fiber compared to whole fruits can affect the child's digestion and satiety levels, leading to potential overeating.
  • Natural Sugars: These snacks usually contain the natural sugars found in fruits, such as fructose, which, in excess, can contribute to unwanted weight gain and dental issues.

The caloric content also plays a role. Although calories are energy and essential for growing children, the type and quality of calories matter. The concentration of sugars in Fruit to Go snacks can lead to a quick spike in energy, often followed by a crash, as opposed to the steady energy release provided by the complex carbohydrates and fibers found in whole fruits.

In addition, we must consider the psychological and habit-forming implications of offering children such snacks. While convenient, they may inadvertently send a message that fruit in its natural state is a less desirable option, potentially forming a preference for processed alternatives. This is especially important in developing lifelong healthy eating habits.

While Fruit to Go snacks are not inherently 'bad,' their place in a child's diet should be measured. Here are some considerations for including them in a healthy eating plan:

  • Occasional Treat: Use them as occasional treats rather than daily snack staples to avoid over-reliance on processed foods.
  • Balance and Variety: Encourage whole fruits to ensure children receive adequate fiber and a broader range of nutrients.
  • Dental Health: Be mindful of the effects of sticky, sweet snacks on dental health, emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene.
  • Pairing with Other Foods: To balance the sugar rush, consider pairing the snack with a source of protein or healthy fats to slow down the absorption of sugars.

The roles that snacks like Fruit to Go play in children's diets are nuanced, as they can meet specific convenience needs while also presenting potential nutritional downsides. Parents and caregivers should aim to use these products thoughtfully within a diverse and balanced diet, prioritizing whole foods when possible.

Expert opinions, such as those from registered dietitians and pediatricians, generally recommend moderation with such snacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests focusing on fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy as key components of a child's diet, highlighting the limited role for processed snack products. A study published in the Journal of School Health echoes this sentiment, emphasizing whole fruits over fruit-based snacks due to the reduced fiber content and increased sugar levels that could lead to children exceeding recommended daily sugar intakes.

Frequently asked questions

Fruit to Go snacks can provide vitamins such as vitamin C; however, the range and amount of nutrients is less diverse compared to whole fruits. The processing may also reduce some nutrient levels, so they should not be solely relied upon for vitamin and mineral intake.

For those managing blood sugar levels, Fruit to Go snacks may not be ideal due to their concentrated sugar content and lack of dietary fiber. Fiber helps moderate blood sugar spikes, so it's preferable to consume snacks that include this important nutrient, alongside consulting a healthcare professional for personal dietary advice.

While Fruit to Go snacks are low in calories, their lack of fiber and the potential for sugar spikes could make it harder to manage hunger and satiety. For weight management, whole fruits are recommended due to their fiber content, which helps promote fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.

Parents should moderate the inclusion of Fruit to Go snacks in their children's diet, using them as occasional treats rather than a replacement for whole fruits. It's important to balance convenience with nutritional value and to encourage a variety of whole foods to ensure adequate fiber intake and nutrient diversity.

Ask a question about Fruit To Go Snacks and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • rapid blood sugar spikes
  • energy dips
  • possible gastrointestinal discomfort
  • allergic reactions

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • elevated possibility of cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • dental health issues

Ingredients to be aware of


  • convenient source of instant energy
  • some vitamin c

Healthier alternatives

  • whole fruits
  • snacks with minimal or no added sugars
  • snacks with added fiber

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  • No added sugar
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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-23-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-23-2024

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